The scrimmages are in the rearview mirror and the NBA’s restart schedule is here. The Trail Blazers secured a much-needed win over the Grizzlies on Friday to open their schedule, placing them on a path to make things interesting in the race for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Here is a look at Friday’s results in the Western Conference and Saturday’s games that could impact Portland’s positioning.
First, these are the basics for this year’s playoffs race in regards to the teams poised to finish at No. 8 and No. 9 in the standings (via NBA dot com).
If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, no play-in tournament will be necessary. The final playoff berth will simply go to the team with the eighth best record (regular-season games + seeding games).
But if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, then we’ll have a battle for the final spot between those two teams.
The tournament will basically be a best-of-two series — where the No. 9 seed will have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.
It is also worth noting that the tie breaker for teams on the fringe with identical records is win percentage.
- Grizzlies | 32-34 | Win %: .485
- Trail Blazers | 30-37 | Win %: .448
- Spurs | 28-36 | Win %: .438
- Pelicans | 28-37 | Win %: .431
- Kings | 28-37 | Win %: .431
- Suns | 27-39 | Win %: .409
Scenario if Playoffs Started Today: Grizzles (No. 8) face Blazers (No. 9) in play-in series.
- Blazers (W) defeat Grizzlies (L) 140-135
- Suns (W) defeat Wizards 125-112
- Spurs (W) defeat Kings (L) 129-120
- Pelicans face the Clippers | 3:00 pm PT | ESPN